Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a broad term used to group together these academic disciplines. This term is typically used to address an education policy or curriculum choices in schools. It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns (as a shortage of STEM-educated citizens can reduce effectiveness in this area) and immigration policy.

There is no universal agreement on which disciplines are included in STEM; in particular whether or not the science in STEM includes social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. In the United States, these are typically included by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Labor’s O*Net online database for job seekers, and the Department of Homeland Security. In the United Kingdom, the social sciences are categorized separately and are instead grouped together with humanities and arts to form another counterpart acronym HASS (Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences), rebranded in 2020 as SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy).